Friday, February 26, 2010

I pledge allegiance to . . . Hubba Bubba?

In typical American slacker fashion, Bode Miller chomped gum during the national anthem as he stood on the medal podium at the 2010 Olympics. The next day, his teammates paid dearly. Lindsey Vonn crashed hard and broke a bone, causing Julia Mancuso to be stopped mid-run. Her cursed second run went poorly.

Hell hath no fury like a nation’s flag scorned.

Of the eight golds (thus far) that were privileged to be accompanied by our national anthem, I only noticed one athlete putting their hand over their heart. Not one attempted the song, though cross-country skier Johnny Spillane did mumble along some.

It’s been noted that our own President doesn’t observe all of the recommendations set out by U.S. Code 301. Is Nationalism dead? In this day of invisible boundaries where athletes from several nations are all wearing Nike manufactured Olympic gear, where the best Norwegian sleds are raced under a rainbow of flags, and where our most medaled winter Olympian hails from Japanese roots, is there even such a thing as nationalism?

The Pledge of Allegiance isn’t said in most of our schools anymore. Only Whitney Houston knows all the words to our National Anthem. Our nation hasn’t fallen yet for this lack of showy patriotism. But for God’s sake, spit out the gum, Bode. It’s just good manners. If we are nothing else, we are polite Americans, eh?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Once Upon a Faulty Gene

Children are programmed to love their parents no matter the harm inflicted upon them. It’s hardwired into their little brains and hearts to forgive and trust. It’s one of nature’s catch-22 scenarios, put there to ensure that a parent can doctor a child back to health and still hold esteem.

As a sick tyke, I often felt betrayed by my trustworthy folks as they held me down and put torturous drops into my painfully infected ears. How could they do that to me over and over, knowing how much I hated it? I now watch with sick regret as I have to do the same to my own little one. I look into his doe eyes, filled with surprise and accusation and thank God or Mother Nature for his ability to hug me afterward instead of running away. I will always be the bad guy, the one to scrape wounds clean and make him drink penicillin (aka poison to him).

The problem is that this “get outta jail free” gene is the same one that makes abused kids lie and defend their parents, afraid of being separated from them. How is a judge to know what’s best for a child when that kid can’t differentiate abuse from loving care and says with all sincerity, “I want to live with mommy”? If evolution weeds out harmful traits, how long will it take for society to be rid of bad parents? And if there were no more bad parents, could we even procreate? Or is selfishness just inherently human?